Find out what issues can cause a toenail to turn black.
As you well know, a healthy toenail is usually clear; however, if you notice discolorations in one or more toenails it could just be trying to tell you that something is wrong. Of course, suddenly looking down and seeing a black toenail certainly could cause concern. Don’t worry, our San Leandro, CA, podiatrists Dr. Michael Stein and Dr. Zeineldin Ahmad are here to explain some of the reasons this might be happening.
What can cause a black toenail?
Here are some of the most common reasons you might be dealing with a black toenail:
Trauma: This is usually the most obvious reason a toenail turns black. Maybe you stubbed your toe really hard or the toenail sustained some trauma while playing sports. When this happens this can cause broken blood vessels under the nail bed, and it’s the blood itself that causes the nail to take on its black appearance.
A medical disorder: There are also some medical problems that can affect the health of your toenails. Some of these conditions include heart disease, diabetes, anemia and kidney disease. If you’re noticing other symptoms such as tingling extremities, changes in heart rhythm or fatigue along with a black toenail then it might be time to call your doctor.
A fungal infection: While most toenail fungal infections cause the nail to turn yellow, if the toenail is left untreated this can lead to enough buildup that it can cause the nail to turn black. Fungal infections are very common foot problems that our San Leandro, CA, foot specialist can help you treat if over-the-counter antifungal medications aren’t working.
Should I see my doctor?
If you've suffered an injury to your foot, this should warrant a trip to the doctor’s office. Of course, if you know what’s causing your toenail then you can better assess whether it’s something that can be treated from the comfort of your own home or whether a medical professional needs to take a look. If you suspect that your black toenail may be the result of a health problem then it’s important that you call your doctor right away. If you have diabetes or a compromised immune system then you will want to see a doctor for treatment.
A foot doctor can help you figure out why your toenail is black. If your toenail has been black for a while and doesn’t go away then it’s a good idea to call Foot Doctor of the East Bay in San Leandro, CA, to schedule an appointment with us.